Lately, I’ve been wading through a sea of articles on the pros and cons of telecommuting. They seem to be everywhere — on industry news sites, on mainstream news sites, bouncing around various social media outlets. Everyone’s got something to say about the joys or evils of working from home.
I guess Yahoo’s recent and widely publicized decision to end its work-from-home policy has bumped this topic up on the list of Things You Should Have an Opinion About, so I figured I’d throw in my two cents as well.
At Obsidian PR, we have a pretty balanced policy when it comes to telecommuting: do it when it’s necessary (when weather or illness prevents you from driving) or when it fosters more efficiency (e.g. in conjunction with a client meeting near your home).
We’ve had some intelligent discussions in the office about this topic, and I respect the prevalent opinions here. However, if I ruled the world, I’d telecommute more often. Here’s why:
1. I accomplish amazing things in my pajamas.
Please don’t read anything into this statement, but there are days when I hate wearing clothes. As proof, I have three drawers full of pajama bottoms and giant T-shirts. Sadly, this is my outfit of choice these days. (Yep, I’m single. I wonder why.) But when I’m wearing my pink drawstring pajama bottoms with garden gnomes all over them and my huge Atari T-shirt, I feel like I can conquer the world! The unfettered creativity (YES! I said, “unfettered”!) flows through my body like shimmery, liquid gold. Or maybe I’m just too lazy to get dressed. In any case, who cares? I’m not crammed into a pair of Spanx or screwing around with wayward bra straps. I’m happy. I’m comfortable. There are people out there who say the more professionally you dress for work, the more productive you’ll be. I say to those people, “Get better pajamas.”
2. My hair-from-hell is an obstacle to my efficiency.
I did the math one day. It takes about seven minutes for me to take a shower, 10 to 15 minutes to do my hair, at least five minutes to slather about 19 different youth-inducing (don’t we wish) creams on my face, 10 to 15 minutes to do my makeup (20 if the night before was rough), five more minutes to mess around with my hair again, five more minutes to mess around with my face again, and five more minutes to once again mess around with my hair. This is all precious, precious time that I could be using to get work done. When I work at home, I just throw on a pair of glasses and yank the hair up into a ponytail. Sometimes, I’ll get a little sexy and slap on some ChapStick. Of course, if you swing by my place and knock on my front door, there’s no way I’m answering it, but whatever. More work done!
3. My coffee pot.
I can drink 12 consecutive cups, and no one will judge or gape in horrified amazement.
4. The hoopty gets a rest.
I have a 1999 Toyota RAV4. It has approximately 165,000 miles on it and – besides regular oil changes, tune-ups and tire rotations – has never required extensive attention from a mechanic. (Let’s all knock on wood together now, shall we?) But it’s a bit beaten-up at this point, to put it kindly. When I’m rolling in it, I crank up the music, not because I’m cool, but because when I drive in silence I can hear the scary sounds of things creaking and rattling, like I’m dragging a bucket of bolts down the street. And because it looks a little rough around the edges, it gets no respect. People hit it in parking lots all the time and never leave notes. Women in big sunglasses and shiny BMWs cruise by it in disdain. Random neighborhood children write “WASH ME” in its dust. Haters aside, I still treat that car tenderly, like a first-born child. I have awesome memories associated with that car. I’m never selling it. When I finally move on to something else, I’ll get my RAV4 shellacked and mounted. So yeah, when I work at home, the hoopty gets some much-needed rest.
I commute Downtown from Germantown, and I drive to a lot of client meetings. It costs about $40 to fill up my car, and I use about one-and-a-half tanks of gas a week. So I spend about $60 a week on gas (somewhere out there, my sixth-grade math teacher is clapping), which comes to about $240 a month (standing ovation). That’s money I could be spending on shoes. SHOES, I SAID! Somebody hold me.
I used to be the PR director for the world-renowned health resort Canyon Ranch. Unfortunately, most people around here don’t realize it’s world-renowned, so go ahead and Google it. I’ll wait . . . OK, so anyway, if you need to pull yourself together and get your body, mind and digestive system balanced, Canyon Ranch is the destination for you. And thanks to that job, I have a deep appreciation for the Chinese concept of energy force called ch’i. As such, I’ve got everything in my room artfully placed so the ch’i not only flows, it cavorts. If you happen to be my PR client and I happen to write your news release at home, it will be touched by my magical ch’i (and possibly fingers covered with microwaved-pizza grease. But mainly ch’i).
7. My cats.
I have two of them. I rescued them from a shelter. They like to hang out with me while I work and keep an eye on what I’m doing. Occasionally, one of them will stick out a paw and try to type something. They are excellent commentators. They’re also excellent proofreaders.
8. Memphis drivers.
I get to avoid them. Enough said.
Erinn Figg wrote this highly caffeinated blog post in pajamas while working at home. As such, it is touched by magical ch’i and has been proofed by two cats.